Drupal and Startups is there a Connection?

Over the past few years, I have been trying to make the connection between startups and some of the new web based tools that are in the news. Unfortunately, blogging or social media tools just don’t resonate with many entrepreneurs. They just didn’t make the connection to their usefulness.

Now coming from a technology background where I was always looking at future products, I realize that it is not the users job to figure out why they should be using a technology. Whoever is offering the technology as a solution has that responsibility. Oh yeah, that would be me.

Every startup is challenged by restricted financial resources, extreme time limitations and the need to build their brand in order to get the traction they need and, by association, grow their businesses.

In the old days, say five years ago, you needed tons of cash to build your brochureware web site, hire a PR agency, and a marketing firm who would go out and help you defining your market and then research your target demographics and tell you what your customers are looking for. It also costs lots of money to keep your brochureware web site updated with fresh content since you really didn’t want to take the time to learn all the web languages needed to provide updates. Even the list of acronyms were daunting, HTML, XML, PHP, CSS, Dreamweaver, Contribute…

In today’s world, there a number of new content management tools that also have the capabilities of incorporating communities and, best of all, the are Open Source; implication, FREE! Not entirely free unless you want to learn how to develop the community sites on your own. Drupal is just such an environment.

Now you can have a site put up in no time at all and start conversations with your customers or market targets, which means that you have direct contact with your customer base, not filtered through some third party marketing firm. More importantly, once you get the conversations started, the data is current not 18 months old like in the old days.

Another important consideration is the number additional applications that can be easily added as you grow. You want video, there is an open source application with player. How about e-commerce. Download one and begin using it. Take a minute at look at what’s available over at Drupal.

You probably have all the equipment you need. A computer and Internet Access is a starting point. Don’t have your own server to host, no problem. There are lots of providers and the hosting fees have gone through the floor.

So, if you are getting your business together and wondering how you are going to get started, look at the possibilities of using tools like Drupal, Joomla, or WordPress as the way to offload the hard work of getting your name out and building your brand. Take a little time to see what’s available and then find somebody that knows about these technologies and can help you decide what’s possible and will work for you.

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11 Responses to “Drupal and Startups is there a Connection?”


  1. 1 Marco September 16, 2008 at 7:30 am

    Actually,
    today I would also consider to going one step further and use web-based systems like Goggle Sites. It is faster and even cheaper (time is money).

  2. 2 socalbuzz September 16, 2008 at 9:40 am

    Marco:

    Thanks for the comment. I’ll have to look at Google sites.

    Jim

  3. 3 Tom Geller September 16, 2008 at 2:32 pm

    The online “build-your-own-site” systems I’ve seen have been severely limited when compared to Drupal; OTOH, Drupal’s installation procedure is still WAY beyond the abilities of 98% of the market.

    So we have simplicity and complexity, both reaching for the middle of the market. Which will get there “firstest with the mostest”? Google’s a good bet — they’re smart folks, and the company has an amazing inventory of existing products they can leverage well. (For example: Calendar, Groups, Maps, and Documents for site building; AdSense for revenue; Adwords for marketing.) The addition of e-commerce features (via PayPal/Google Checkout?) would make this appeal to a lot of small business owners.

    So how could Drupal differentiate itself from such a solution? I have some ideas, but that’s a brainstorming session worth having. Hmm… off to my own blog! 🙂

  4. 4 socalbuzz September 16, 2008 at 4:27 pm

    I went over to Google Sites and built a very simplistic site. It was very easy to create. I remember when I first set up this blog almost three years and took about the same amount of time.

    WordPress has been adding and improving the platform ever since and it has a lot more flexibility. However, as I decided to look at creating a more robust community site, I didn’t think that WordPress was the solution and started looking elsewhere.

    So, Google Sites will certainly meet the needs of a large number of users while others will want to capabilities that come with tools like Drupal or Joomla.

    I do agree with Tom that having an easier front end for really non-technical people to set up Drupal would improve the adoption within the business community.

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